You and the Law – 2nd June 2009

Long hours, short hols

I’ve worked for a company for the last eight years, and recently started doing a 12-hour shift. The company says that for every day I take off they’re going to take 12 hours off my holiday entitlement, which makes it a day and a quarter. Is this fair? OC

Most employees get the number of weeks’ holiday specified in their contracts, or a minimum (from April 1 this year) of 5.6 weeks including bank and public holidays.

This can be expressed in terms of days (28 days for a normal five-day week) or hours; so if you work a four-day week of 12-hour shifts then a week’s holiday would involve a seven-day absence from work for which you are paid for 48 hours.

But this gets confusing when you take individual days off, so (as your employer suggests) you should stick to hours.

If you multiply 5.6 by 48 hours you will learn that you are entitled to a minimum of 268.8 hours’ paid leave a year. As long as you keep a tally of the hours you take off you shouldn’t end up being short changed.

Was brother remembered?

While my cousin was alive she was very concerned to make provision for her severely disabled brother, who has spent most of his life in a home. My cousin died 15 years ago, and I have just learned that her husband died last year. 

Could I get hold of a copy of his will to find out if they left him anything? JG

You can apply to the local probate registry for a copy if a grant of probate was required. It’s cheaper to call in person.

However, if your cousin was determined to make provision for her brother she would probably have set up a trust fund for him.

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